This Week's Sponsor:


Ensure that if a device isn’t secure it can’t access your apps.  It’s Device Trust for Okta.

Verizon iPhone, Personal Hotspot and MyWi - Which One?

With the Verizon iPhone, Apple today showcased a new software feature that comes pre-installed with the slightly-redesigned device: Personal Hotspot. Already available for several Android devices running on Verizon’s network and made deeply integrated into iOS with a new software build, Personal Hotspot will allow you to create a mobile WiFi network to share your 3G connection with up to 5 nearby WiFi devices. The feature, put simply, looks great: you can activate wireless tethering with literally two taps and a password, or go with Bluetooth and USB tethering. As suggested by Apple’s Phil Schiller himself, Personal Hotspot makes for a great alternative to popular MiFi hotspots and will allow iPad owners to carry around an iPhone on Verizon’s network and have constant access to the Internet even if the iPad is WiFi-only.

We don’t know yet if Personal Hotspot will find its way to AT&T or will be included by default in a future build of iOS (version 4.2.5 doesn’t sound quite right in my opinion), but I do know that, if the feature will stay Verizon-only, I’ll still be able to create a portable hotspot the way I’ve always done: with MyWi, an app for jailbroken iPhones you can buy in Cydia at $19.99.

TUAW spoke with the founder of Intelliborn (the company behind MyWi) Mario Ciabarra and, while he’s excited about Apple bringing mobile hotspots to the iPhone with a software update, he’s pretty sure that MyWi will be doing just fine. Indeed, MyWi provides more options than the ones seen today in Apple’s Personal Hotspot for the Verizon iPhone: it’s got the same WiFi, Bluetooth and USB tethering features, but it also comes with the possibility to set a channel and adjust transmit power, tweak the DHCP settings and display detailed battery information. MyWi displays active users connected to its WiFi network, too. MyWi and Personal Hotspot will likely offer the same set of core functionalities; Intelliborn’s application, however, provides more features that grant you more control over a WiFi network shared through your iPhone.

There is one aspect of Apple’s easy-to-use Personal Hotspot, though, that will sure disappoint many users who are not familiar with the restrictions imposed by CDMA: CDMA can’t use voice and data at the same time. Unlike iPhones running on AT&T’s network and contrary to Apple’s own commercials, the Verizon iPhone won’t let you call and browse the internet at the same time. That is a limitation on Verizon’s end, and there’s really anything much Apple can’t do about it. The same restriction will apply when using Personal Hotspot on Verizon: if you’re sharing your 3G connection with others and a phone call comes in, the tethering will drop to leave place to the Phone app. Just like old dial-up connections back in 90s. AT&T users relying on MyWi or, looking forward, Apple’s Personal Hotspot app, won’t of course experience the issue with voice and data simultaneously; not in tethering mode, not during calls. That’s how CDMA works, and Personal Hotspot won’t be an exception.

The fact that Apple may implement portable hotspot capabilities in iOS by default is just great. The feature used to be one of best advantages of Android over iOS and it’s good to see Apple catching up. Still, we don’t know if the functionality will be available outside the US, or to AT&T customers for that matter. What’s for sure is that MyWi is a solid (although paid) alternative that has always managed to get the job done and even offers more to play with for those willing to customize their mobile WiFi networks.

[image via TechCrunch]

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.